Great players: Bob Kelly

Robert James Kelly was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on August 4, 1932. He came to Canada at the age of 19.

Bob starred as the centre half-back of the Ulster United club in the National Soccer League from 1953 to 1960. In 1959 he was loaned out to Toronto Italia for the 1959 National Soccer League playoffs, and helped Italia win the NSL playoff finals.

Prior to the 1960 NSL season his move to Toronto Italia was made permanent. It was said to involve the highest cash trade so far in Toronto soccer history. Italia were double winners in the 1960 season, winning both the league championship and the playoff championship. He was picked on the 1960 NSL All-Star team.

In 1961 Toronto Italia joined the Eastern Canada Professional Soccer League. Italia qualifed for the 1961 ECPSL playoffs finals. However, they lost to Montreal Cantalia in the finals.

Toronto Italia won the 1962 Easter Canada Professional Soccer League playoff finals with Bob being their centre half. After the 1962 season Bob moved to Toronto City. City finished in last place in the six team league in the final standings of the 1963 Eastern Canada Professional Soccer League season.

The 5’10” and 176 lbs centre half was picked on numerous all-star teams. The foreign teams he played against included Heart of Midlothian, Aberdeen, the Mexican National Team, West Bromwich Albion, Zenit Leningrad and Bermuda.

Bob worked at Ontario Hydro until he retired in 1993. He passed away at the age of 78 on October 8, 2010, at √Člisabeth Bruy√®re Hospital in Ottawa.

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